“All Apologies” by Nirvana (1993 + unplugged version released 1994)

-Last single released by Nirvana before Kurt’s death.

-Final track on In Utero, the last Nirvana album released in Kurt’s lifetime.

-The penultimate song played during Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged episode, their final live televised appearance.

So…whether we like it or not, and whether HE’D like it or not, “All Apologies” serves as Kurt’s epitaph. This certainly gives the song a gravity it wouldn’t have otherwise. From looking at the typically oblique lyrics (and reading my share of internet chatter), I can’t say whether “All Apologies” was a cryptic portrait of marital bliss or something more sad. Part of me would like to think that Kurt wasn’t showing his hand and leading listeners towards the events of April 1994, and that “All Apologies” was pitched as an album closer because it was leading to a hopeful, positive next chapter.

I watched that MTV Unplugged special a dozen times (I didn’t get MTV until fall ‘94, at which point it was virtually all that aired in between episodes of The Real World.) Nirvana’s performance of “All Apologies” on that show defines the word “haunting”.

NOT QUITE FIVE STARS…

“All About Love” by The Party (1992): The Party was the class of Mickey Mouse Club actors that came right before Justin, Britney, Christina, Keri Russell, Ryan Gosling et.al. Before you side-eye me for almost giving a song of theirs five stars, give “All About Love” a listen. Albert Fields is a top-tier vocalist, and the song is exquisitely produced by Teddy Riley, working in his understated “Remember The Time” mode. This would’ve been a smash on, say, Hi-Five. Alas, it came out when the tide was turning on teen groups who also didn’t have the doo-wop vocalese of Boyz II Men.

“All Along The Watchtower” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1968): Thing you will not see on this list, a song sung by Bob Dylan. But I’ll venture a guess that you’ll see several songs written by Mr. Zimmerman, including this one. Hendrix’s muscular singing is perfect for the ominous tones of “All Along The Watchtower”. And I don’t have to say jack shit about the guitar playing. You already know.

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